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Mitch McConnell
  U.S. Senate Sen. Mc Connell on Iran Impeachment  CSPAN  January 7, 2020 3:49am-4:01am EST

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dispensed with. the presiding officer: without
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objection. mr. mcconnell: as the senate convenes this afternoon, we find our nation facing two grave and serious choices. one concerns our unity at home and the future of our constitution. the other involves our strength abroad and the security of our homeland. both situations demand serious, sober treatment from congress. both require that we put enduring national interests ahead of the factionalism and short-termism the founding fathers warned us about. but unfortunately, mr. president, seriousness is in short supply. lately, in very short supply from the determined critics of president trump and our nation, of course, is worse for it. last thursday, the united states took decisive action to end the murderous scheming of iran's chief terrorist.
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qasem soleimani had spent new nw numerous years in expanding iran's influence. despite sanctions, despite prohibitions by the u.n. security council, he roamed throughout the region with impunity. his hand bore the blood of more american service members than anyone else alive. hundreds of american families have buried loved ones because of him. veterans have learned to live with permanent injuries inflicted by his terrorists. and in iraq, and in syria and beyond, the entire region felt the effects of his evil tactics. we should welcome his death and
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its complication of tehran's terrorism industrial complex, but we must remain vigilant and soberly prepare for even further aggression. now, it is completely appropriate this decision would generate interest and questions from this body. we can and we should learn more about the intelligence and thinking that led to this operation and the plan to defend american personnel and interests in the wake of it. i'm glad the administration will hold an all-senators briefing on wednesday. it will be led by secretary of defense esper, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, general milley, secretary of state pompeo, and c.i.a. director haspel. unfortunately, in this toxic political environment, some of our colleagues rushed to blame our own government before even knowing the facts, rushed to split hairs about intelligence
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before being briefed on it, and rushed to down play soleimani's evil while presenting our own president as the villain. soon after the news broke, one of our distinguished colleagues made a public statement that rightly called soleimani a murder and then amazingly walked that message back when the far left objected to the factual statement. since then, i believe all her criticism is directed at our own president. another of our democratic colleagues has been thinking out loud about middle east policy on social media. mere days before president trump's decision, this senator tore into the white house for what he described as weakness and inaction. no one fears us, he complained. trump has rendered america i am potent in the middle east. -- impotent in the middle east. but since the strike, a complete
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180. that same senator has harshly criticized our own president for getting tough. ludicrously, he and others on the left have accused the administration of committing an illegal act and equated the removal of this terrorist leader with a foreign power assassination of our own secretary of defense. well, here's what one expert had to say about it. jeh johnson, president obama's own former pentagon general counsel and secretary of homeland security. here's what he said. if you believe everything that our government is saying about general soleimani, he was a lawful military objective and the president under his constitutional authority as commander in chief had ample domestic legal authority to take him out without, without an additional congressional authorization, whether he was a
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terrorist or a general in a military force that was engaged in armed attacks against our people, he was a lawful military objective. that's the former secretary of homeland security in the obama administration, jeh johnson, an expert on these things. and our former colleague, joe lieberman, who ran for vice president on the democratic ticket in 2000 wrote this morning that in their uniformly skeptical or negative reaction to soleimani's death, democrats are creating the risk that the u.s. will be seen as acting and speaking with less authority abroad at this important time. that's how former -- a former democratic senator sees it. look, the senate is supposed to be the chamber where overheated partisan passions give way to sober judgment. can we not at least wait until
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we know the facts? can we not maintain a shred, just a shred of national unity for five minutes, for five minutes before deepening the partisan trenches? must democrats distaste dominate every thought they express and every decision that they make? is that really the seriousness that this situation deserves? the full senate will be briefed on wednesday. i expect the committees of oversight will also conduct hearings and the senators will have plenty of opportunities to discuss our interest and policies in the region. so i would urge my colleagues to bring a full awareness of the facts, mindfulness of the long history of iran's aggression towards the united states and its allies and a sober understanding of the threat iran continues to pose.
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could we at least remember we're all americans first and we're all in this together. meantime at this dangerous time, house democrats continue to play political games with their partisan impeachment of the commander in chief. last year house democrats conducted the least thorough, most rushed, most unfair impeachment inquiry in history. for weeks democrats said they could not wait for due process, could not conduct a normal or fair inquiry, because removing the president from office was so incredibly urgent, incredibly urgent. well, the unseriousness was obvious then and should be even more obvious now.
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because speaker pelosi is now sitting on the articles she claimed were so very urgent. she's delayed this indefinitely so that the architects of the failed house process can look for ways to reach over here into the senate and dictate our process as well. democrats have tried to insist that the senate deviate from a unanimous bipartisan precedent set in the 19 1999 trial of president clinton and write new rules for president trump. they are pursuing avenues that chairman schiff himself didn't bother to pursue. mr. president, the senate has a unanimous bipartisan precedent for when to handle midtrial questions such as witnesses in the middle of the trial, was when that was done the last
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time, and that's the way it should be done this time. in 1999, every single u.s. senator agreed to establish basic parameters for the start of the trial up front and be reserved mid-trial questions such as witnesses until later. the vote was 100-0. that was good enough for president clinton, so it ought to be good enough for president trump. fair is fair. house democrats hunger to break our senate precedents just like they broke their own house precedents could not be more telling. but the senate does not just bob along on the currents of yef news sigh -- every news cycle. the house may have been content to scrap their own norms to hurt president trump, but that is not the senate. even with a process this constitutionally serious, even
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with tensions rising in the middle east, house democrats are treating impeachment like a political toy. like a political toy. treating their own effort to remove our commander in chief like some frivolous game. these bizarre stunts do not serve our constitution or our national security. they erode both. my democratic colleagues should not plow away american unity in some bizarre intra mural competition to see who dislikes the president more. this should not disdain our constitution by rushing through a purely partisan impeachment process and then toying around with it. governing is serious business. the american